21L007 After Pocahontas

21L007 After Pocahontas
In 1622, Powhatan’s brother Opechancanough (Smith’s captor) led an uprising against the
English colony in which about 350 colonists were killed. An apologist for the Virginia Company
wrote in the same year that “this massacre … must needs be for the good of the plantation after,
and the loss of this blood to make the body more healthful.” Why?
First, Because betraying of innocence never rests unpunished….
Secondly, Because our hands which before were tied with gentleness and fair usage, are
now set at liberty by the treacherous violence of the Savages, not untying the knot, but
cutting it: So that we … may now by right of War, and law of Nations, invade the
Country, and destroy them who sought to destroy us: whereby we shall enjoy their
cultivated places … possessing the fruits of others’ labours… [Colonists will have the use
of land already cleared by the Indians].
Thirdly, Because those commodities which the Indians enjoyed as much or rather more
than we, shall now also be entirely possessed by us … [Game will be more abundant, as
the English will not kill laying fowl, female deer, etc.] … whereby, as also by the orderly
using of their fishing weirs, no known Country in the world will so plentifully abound in
Fourthly, Because the way of conquering them is much more easy than of civilizing them
by fair means, for they are a rude, barbarous, and naked people, scattered in small
companies, which are helps to Victory, but hindrances to Civility: Besides that, a conquest
may be of many, and at once; but civility is in particular, and slow, the effect of long time,
and great industry. Moreover, victory of them may be gained many ways; by force, by
surprise, by famine in burning their corn, by destroying and burning their boats, canoes,
and houses, by breaking their fishing weirs, by assailing them in their huntings … by
pursuing and chasing them with our horses, and blood-hounds to draw after them, and
mastiffs to tear them, which take this naked, tanned, deformed Savages, for no other than
wild beasts … By these and sundry other ways, as by … animating and abetting their
enemies against them, may their ruin and subjection be soon effected. … So likewise
Ferdinando Cortés vanquished King Motezuma, and gained the kingdom of Mexico from
him, by the aid and furtherance of the neighbouring people of the province of Tascala,
being deadly enemies to the Mexicans …. And by these factions and differences of petty
Princes, the Romans took their greatest advantage to overcome this Island of Great
Fifthly, Because the Indians, who before were used as friends, may now more justly be
compelled to servitude and drudgery, and supply the room of men that labour, whereby
even the meanest of the Plantation may employ themselves more entirely in their Arts and
Occupations, which are more generous …
Sixthly, This will for ever hereafter make us more cautious and circumspect, as never to be
deceived more by any other treacheries, but will serve for a great instruction to all posterity
there, to teach them that Trust is the mother of Deceipt, and to learn them from the
Italian… He that trusts not is not deceived: and make them know that kindesses are
misspent upon rude natures, so long as they continue rude …
Edward Waterhouse, A Declaration of the State of the Colony in Virginia (London, 1622)